Sony-Asia this month introduced its first own-brand solid-state drives that it will sell in retail. The decision to start selling consumer SSDs is completely unexpected because Sony has been trying to focus solely on highly profitable and less competitive businesses in the recent years, whereas the competition in the market of consumer storage is fierce. Initially, the company will sell only two SSD models, which means that it is trying to test a new business rather than to become a leader on the market.

Sony’s SLW-M SSDs come in 2.5-inch/7 mm form-factor (a special bracket to install the drives into 9.5-mm bays is included) and feature 240 GB (SLW-MG2) or 480 GB (SLW-MG4) capacities. The drives use SATA-6 Gbps interface and hence Sony can address the vast majority of desktop and laptop PCs with its first-gen SSDs. According to Sony, the SLW-M solid-state drives feature up to 560 MB/s sequential write speed and up to 530 MB/s sequential write speed. Each drives comes equipped with the Acronis True image 2015 and Sony SSD ToolBox software for managing and saving your data.

The Sony SLW-M SSDs are based on the Phison PS3110-S10 controller as well as Toshiba’s TLC flash memory, according to images published by web-site. The SLW-MG2 solid-state drive from Sony features 128 MB DDR3 buffer made by Nanya. Usage of TLC NAND indicates that Sony’s SLW-M are entry-level client solid-state solutions that do not cost a lot to make and are not supposed to be expensive, and based on the specifications listed it's a reasonable guess that performance will be near the similarly-built low-end OCZ Trion 100 series.

Meanwhile with the Sony drives it's worth noting that Phison not only sells controller chips to makers of SSDs, but actual turnkey solutions, which include ASICs, firmware, reference designs of solid-state drives, software, and so on, and this appears to be what Sony is doing. The PCB design of Sony’s SLW-M resembles that of Kingston’s HyperX Savage, Corsair’s Neutron XT and Patriot’s Ignite, while Sony's SSD ToolBox is rebranded Phison ToolBox.

Many new SSD suppliers acquire Phison’s turnkey solutions in order to produce own drives and find out whether they can successfully sell such products to their customers via their sales channels. For example, Zotac last year introduced its first SSDs powered by Phison’s PS3110-S10 controllers and Toshiba’s MLC NAND flash memory.

Sony’s SSD plans are not completely clear. At present, the company only sells its solid-state drives in select Asian markets and it is unknown whether Sony has plans to offer similar products in the U.S. or Europe. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the company, which has been withdrawing from commoditized markets for years, is trying to sell its own SSDs. Nowadays solid-state drives are not as cheap as HDDs, but in the entry level the competition is fierce and margins are low.

Source: Sony

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  • DanNeely - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    Kids these days...

    The Sony (audio) CD Rootkit debacle of 2005 was the first mass market rootkit scandal; with a level of outrage that dwarfed the Lenovo Superfish scandal. (Partly because it was the first one, partly because putting it on audio CDs meant that the exposure risk was much wider, and partly because it was impossible to patch infected CDs.) Many people intend to carry their grudge to Sony's grave. Those people are known as the more forgiving consumers.
  • bill.rookard - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    Yeah - seriously that was only 10 years ago, and was a huge issue for a lot of people. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.. or be compromised by it...
  • Lezmaka - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    The only reason I clicked on this article was to make sure this joke was made at least once :)
  • MacGyver85 - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    Am I the only one that reads "SLW-M Series" as the "SLOW-M Series"?
    Judging by its hardware it just might bear the correct name.
  • Gothmoth - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    sony has no chance making a profit in the SSD market.
  • Coup27 - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    As much as I love Sony I really can't see the logic behind this move.
  • Gothmoth - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    they abandonded LCD screens, laptops and now they enter the SSD market?

    good i have sold all my sony shares years ago...
  • Gothmoth - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    wtf... sony dropped out of LCD, laptop production.... now they start making SSD´s?

    good i sold all my sony shares years ago.

    a snowball in hell has a bigger chance making a profit in the SSD market.
  • nwarawa - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    " Nowadays solid-state drives are not as cheap as HDDs..."

    Not PATENTLY false. But practically? False. If you include refurbs, and ridiculously old and low capacity points, you can get both under $20. HDDs even under $10. But if we're talking about CURRENT generation gear, implied by the "nowadays", we have reached parity. You can get the entry level of either technology for around $40. Of this generation (1Q 2016), that is a 120GB SSD, or a 500GB HDD.

    Some wise-guy may be quick to object, "But we're talking about GB/$!" And actually, we are not. We are talking about "$", and assuming the rest of the bullet points are "good enough". Here comes the obligatory car analogy:

    The quote is akin to saying "Nowadays sports cars are not as cheap as trucks". That statement doesn't make sense without a specific context. Why is someone considering this comparison in the first place? Do they even need the storage that a truck provides? If not, making the argument that you get "more cubit feet of storage per dollar with a truck" is a moot point.

    120GB has become "good enough" for the majority of computer users. 500GB HDD users rarely ever use even half their HDD capacity. Yet the price points for either of this products are around the same now. Thus, for practical purposes, the quote from the article is false.
  • rxzlmn - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    that's true, where I live a decent and big enough SSD for a notebook (2.5", 250GB) costs about the same as a decent HDD (2.5", 1TB, 7200 RPM). A 2.5" 500 GB SSD can be had for about the same price as a decent 2.5" 2TB 5400 RPM drive .

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